August 2, 2021
Dear TASIS Dorado Community,
I hope this letter finds you well as summer activities wind down and you begin preparations for the start of the 2021-22 school year. I would like to reiterate how honored and thrilled I am to join this remarkable learning community as Head of School.
After a month of settling in, it is incredible how quickly Dorado feels like home. This week, the faculty, staff, and I are in the midst of our training meetings, enthusiastically planning for the much-anticipated arrival of students to campus next week.
Guidelines for the Start of School
TASIS Dorado made great strides this past year in equipping the school for the return to campus of all our students, faculty, and staff. We safely and successfully held in-person classes for our youngest learners in PPK and PK since last October, all grade levels on two occasions this past spring, as well as during the month of June for our summer campers, thanks to the effective daily health and safety measures performed by our facilities and security personnel and rigorously adhered to by all members of the community.
The return to school this August will be no different. Due to the investment made last year in equipment and infrastructure, plus the high vaccination rate of our faculty, staff, and students aged 12 and older, we are in an even stronger position this school year to provide the safest possible learning environment for all our students and teachers, including the younger children not yet eligible for vaccination. We will continue to encourage all our returning and new families to get vaccinated, when eligible, as it is the most reliable intervention for ensuring safety during the upcoming school year and will allow for a more rapid return to pre-pandemic activities and procedures.
Other mitigation strategies used last spring will continue such as morning screenings, mandatory face coverings regardless of vaccination status, increased cleaning and sanitation measures, physical distancing in classrooms and throughout campus, use of virtual meeting software and/or livestreaming for some large events, Covid-19 testing, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine. As the year progresses, our safety measures and protocols will adapt to changing conditions.
We kindly ask that each family carefully review our updated Campus Reopening Guidelines (Fall 2021) as they provide important details on back-to-school procedures such as the required morning health screening, arrival and dismissal times and locations, lunch services, and more.
On-Campus Learning Model
Our Covid-19 procedures for the upcoming school year have been revised in accordance with the most recent guidelines established by the Puerto Rico Departments of Health and Education and the Association of Private Schools in Puerto Rico (AEP). It is the aim of the school to provide as complete an on-campus experience as possible for all our students with the understanding that certain health and safety protocols will remain in place until our younger students are eligible for vaccinations and/or the pandemic has sufficiently abated. As such, TASIS Dorado students and faculty will begin the school year in On-Campus Learning Mode. Any accommodation requests due to high-risk health conditions must be submitted in writing to the appropriate division office and include medical documentation. Requests will be evaluated by the respective division office and our Health Center Director.
New Vaccination Requirement
The Puerto Rican government has determined that it is safe for students, faculty, and staff to return to classes in August on the condition that all students, ages 12 or older, faculty and staff are vaccinated and continue to follow other safety protocols outlined by each school. Medical or religious exceptions to the vaccination mandate require a written recommendation from the individual's doctor, pastor or priest and notarized signatures of all parties. It is important for all families to upload a copy of their child(ren)'s official vaccination card(s) on the TASIS Dorado Health Center webpage prior to the start of school.
At this time, due to our unvaccinated population and campus construction, we strongly recommend that all visitors request virtual appointments whenever possible. Access to the business office will be in virtual format only until further notice. If an in-person meeting is needed, those requests will be available by scheduling an appointment for a designated administrative area. Please contact the appropriate administrative assistant to arrange.
Co-Curricular and Extracurricular Activities
Please refer to the Campus Reopening Guidelines for information about sports, assemblies, trips, and enrichment programs. Some of these activities will resume at the start of school while others will be added back into the schedule in phases, when possible, in accordance with government Covid-19 safety guidelines. Details about these opportunities will be shared as they become available.
Each summer TASIS Dorado's maintenance department spends considerable time and effort improving our beautiful campus. This summer is no exception with the exciting renovation of the cafeteria into what will be a state-of-the-art student center/dining facility. Phase I of this multifaceted plan will take place during most of the first semester. Careful planning and consideration have been made to mitigate how construction will impact the campus.
Another area that will be impacted by construction this year is the Performing Arts Center (PAC) parking lot. Between 50-60 parking spaces will be designated as a recess area for multiple grade levels once staging for the Wellness & Athletic Center (WAC) construction begins. The newly built Sabanera Dorado parking lot across from the school's main entrance will help alleviate the loss of PAC parking and will serve as available spots for faculty and visitors throughout the year.
A final thought
I want to conclude by acknowledging that not every family may feel the same way about reopening school on campus. Many families are excited for the in-person learning environment their children will experience. Others may still feel anxious as it is impossible to remove all risks related to respiratory viruses like influenza or Covid-19, as was the case even before the pandemic. What we can promise at TASIS Dorado is that the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our number one priority now and always. We are opening full-time in person because we know we can effectively limit virus transmission if our protocols are strictly followed. We also know from our experience with pandemic distance teaching and learning that conducting school in person is critical for our students' long-term well-being and academic and social-emotional growth.
We thank you in advance for your continued collaboration in ensuring TASIS Dorado provides the safest possible learning and working environment for our community. We value your partnership on these important matters and look forward to hearing and seeing the laughter and smiles of your children on campus very soon!
Deborah K. Monroe
Head of School